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KUHNER: Hollywood’s culture of death
Question of the Day
Hollywood is slowly destroying America - as is evidenced by the remake of “Friday the 13th.” It is the No. 1 grossing movie, raking in over $42.2 million last weekend alone.
The film has no coherent plot or real suspense - just unbridled violence, gore and nudity. The entire movie is a running bloodbath, with teenagers being massacred by the movie’s arch-villain Jason in the most heinous ways imaginable: axes through the head, bodies burned to a crisp over campfires, eyes gouged out and throats slit.
Moreover, its portrayal of teenage sexuality is graphic, vulgar and obscene. Women are portrayed as sluts and sexual objects. Topless women are butchered. There are numerous scenes glamorizing teenage sex and drug use. One male character sports a T-shirt emblazoned with: “F*** Christmas.”
Throughout the film, the human body is systematically degraded for the audience’s entertainment. This is not mass art, but a form of pornography - a pornography that is pervading our culture, slowly eroding moral standards and poisoning our youth.
For decades, Hollywood has been waging a war against Middle America. The country’s supposed best films are honored at the Academy Awards. Yet, behind the glamour and artificial hype, the juvenile hosts and silly obsession with the stars’ fashion, one need only look at this year’s top contenders to see the twisted values being peddled in Tinseltown. “Revolutionary Road” is an assault on suburban family life, rationalizing abortion and adultery. “The Wrestler” is about a pathetic aging professional wrestler, who has abandoned his wife and daughter in pursuit of fame and fortune. He can’t hold down a regular job and spends his time in a strip club. “Milk” celebrates the life of the first openly gay politician, Harvey Milk.
The only movie that espouses genuine romantic love between a man and a woman and the enduring values of heroism, self-sacrifice and family honor is “Slum Dog Millionaire.” And here’s the catch: It’s not American. The film is an Indian production with an Indian cast, depicting a couple’s desperate struggle to survive in the harsh slums of Mumbai. The movie has become a worldwide box office smash. Hollywood sees its recognition of the film as a sign of its multicultural sensitivity. In fact, it is writing its own obituary.
The movie’s huge popularity shows that America’s decaying culture is being eclipsed - other countries are becoming better at the entertainment business. Increasingly many people are disgusted by Hollywood’s celebration of violence, promiscuity, abortion, homosexuality, drugs and greed.
“Slum Dog Millionaire” is not a particularly exceptional film. Yes, it’s well-directed, has some very powerful scenes and the love story is gripping and touching. But it is the kind of film Hollywood routinely produced 50 or even 40 years ago: meticulously crafted, anchored in eternal themes and seriously written - dramas, such as those starring the likes of Bette Davis, Elizabeth Taylor or Richard Burton, which portrayed a morally ordered universe pitting good versus evil. Today, such films are an oasis in the cultural desert; hence, the movie’s appeal.
Since the 1960s, the United States has faced an onslaught from militant secularist forces. The most successful revolutionary of the 20th century was not Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin or Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, but Hugh Hefner. The founder of Playboy did more than simply publish a popular smut magazine. He established the “Playboy philosophy,” which championed the sexual revolution, personal liberation and the destruction of the nuclear family. Its doctrine can be boiled down to one principle: “If it feels good, do it.” This individualistic hedonism not only dominates Hollywood. It dominates our society.
Rather than ushering in a new utopia, it has unleashed a sea of misery. Our culture has become coarsened, cheapening the value and dignity of human life. Legalized abortion has led to the murder of nearly 50 million unborn babies. Sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, have resulted in the deaths of millions. Divorce has sky-rocketed. The family has broken down. Pornography is ubiquitous, especially on the Internet. Out-of-wedlock births and teenage illegitimacy rates have soared. Drugs and gang violence plague our inner cities - and are spreading into our suburbs.
More adolescents are engaging in sex with one another and with adults. Pedophilia is growing. Gay civil unions are supported by a majority of Americans. Attitudes toward polygamy are softening. Homosexuals, bisexuals and the “transgender community” are part of the mainstream. Permissiveness and perversion are now rampant.
Traditional America is dying. Whether Hollywood is a primary cause or a symptom is irrelevant. The fact is that the dysfunctional world it reflects on the big screen is increasingly a social reality.
This is our face to the world. America’s biggest export is not food, cars, weapons or computers, but its culture - especially, its popular culture as embodied in Hollywood films. People in Dubai, Islamabad and Beijing know America primarily through movies. And the picture is not a pretty one. The famous Russian dissident writer, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, rightly called it “cultural manure.”
The Hollywood elite doesn’t understand that, more than our immense wealth and power, our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, or our refusal to cozy up with dictators in Cuba and Iran, the greatest source of global anti-American hatred is our decadent popular culture.
The overwhelming majority of people in the world - whether it be the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia or Eastern Europe - are traditionalist. They deeply believe in God and family, hearth and home. They understand the transcendental nature of man: Human beings are created to serve a higher, nobler purpose, one rooted in eternal moral laws. America’s MTV morality is not only superficial and profoundly anti-human, but doomed. It cannot sustain or inspire a civilization of any meaningful consequence.
Like the murderous Jason, however, Hollywood’s culture of death continues to devour everything in its path. It may still sell tickets. But, like Jason, it is consumed by darkness.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a columnist at The Washington Times and president of the Edmund Burke Institute, a Washington policy institute.
About the Author
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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